Prądniczanka II 1-2 Dragoons: Victory at the Death

Krakow Dragoons FC players during a water break
Prądniczanka II Prądniczanka II
Dragoons Dragoons
Sat, 18 May 2024 14:00 Klasa A — Week 22
KS Prądniczanka Kraków


Victory at the Death

A bright, sunny afternoon welcomed the Dragoons in their latest fixture against Prądniczanka II this past Saturday.

Krakow Dragoons FC players warm up under a beautiful blue sky
Warm-up — The Dragoons are put through their paces moments before the game kicks off | Photo: Dave Burch

Following an underwhelming performance against Wanda the week before, the Expats spent the week training to improve their positional and tactical discipline.

In a rare feat, the Dragoons went into the game with an unchanged backline. However, with Enrico Forabosco suspended and Brian Lemmen unavailable the Expats were forced into changes in the middle. Corneille Malonga started for the first time after the winter break and a welcome return to action from injury saw Rob Smits partner Omar Atzori in the midfield. The Dutchmeester would don the captain’s armband in Forabosco and Szczesnowicz’s absence.

Krakow Dragoons FC players warm up under a beautiful blue sky
Work the Space — Hugo Cruz has the team go through a training drill in the warmup | Photo: Dave Burch

Flavio Nkola kept his place in this side with Yuri Samyonov and Francesco Leuci restored to the line-up. They replaced Vałdzis Fuhaš and Jan Krzyżanowski who both dropped to the substitute’s bench.

Vałdzis Fuhaš of Krakow Dragoons FC running for a ball during warm-up
On the Bench — Vałdzis Fuhaš dropped to the substitutes bench and warms up ahead of the game | Photo: Daniel Silva

Kick Off

The Dragoons kicked the game off and looked to take the game to the hosts. The team had trained how to transition into a different shape defensively and soon had the chance to put their work to the test.

Prądniczanka settled into the game better and looked to exploit the Dragoons high defensive line with their pace. A quickly taken free-kick saw Artem Dzhalilov manage to time his run to break the Expats’ defence early on. The winger darted into the Dragoons box, but a heavy touch under pressure saw Marcin Obyrtacz off his line quickly to collect the ball.

Marcin Obyrtacz of Krakow Dragoons FC secures the ball on the floor
Safe Hands — Marcin Obyrtacz gathers the ball to deny the hosts and early chance | Photo: Daniel Silva

Moments after, another slide-rule pass breached the Dragoons backline, but once again a heavy touch saw the ball out of play. The Dragoons looked a little uncomfortable so far, taking some time to get themselves organised. Hugo Cruz and his assistant Scott Halcrow barked orders at team, helping them to try and settle down.

Krakow Dragoons FC head coach Hugo Cruz pointing a finger up, giving instructions to his player
Making a Point — Hugo Cruz is composed with his instructions to the team | Photo: Daniel Silva

The Hosts Go Close

The hosts had been in control in the early stages and created an excellent goalscoring opportunity on 15 minutes. A long ball over the Dragoon’s defence saw Damien Adamczewski time his run well to find himself in on goal. With just Obyrtacz to beat, the striker looked destined to open the scoring. However, the attacker drove his attempt just wide of the goal for a big early let off for the Expats.

Marcin Obyrtacz of Krakow Dragoons FC prepares a goal kick
He’s a Keeper — Marcin Obyrtacz prepares to take a goal-kick to help the Dragoons get control of the game | Photo: Daniel Silva

Slowly but surely, the Dragoons began to organise themselves and began to get a feel for the ball. Unfortunately, the team failed to make a telling pass in the final third but showed glimpses of improvement.

First Chance for Dragoons

With 19 minutes on the clock, the Expats managed their first attempt at goal. The Dragoons pressed well high in the hosts’ half and Drobny switched the play to Nkola. The Angolan found himself with time to drive inside, but saw his shot hit a defender and rolled kindly through to Michał Mielecki in the Prądniczanka goal.

The Dragoons began to feel their way into the game and started to pass the ball better. Although the Expats looked to stretch the host’s a little more, the final pass failed to find a blue shirt.

On 21 minutes, a speculative forward header from Drobny resulted in a poor touch by a defender. The ball fell straight to the feet of Nkola, who looked to take advantage. However, the Angolan’s first-time effort went straight at Mielecki to comfortably deny the chance.

Corneille Malonga of Krakow Dragoons FC carrying the ball forward while Flavio Nkola waits for the pass
The Energiser Bunny — Corneille Malonga in possession and controlling the midfield for the Expats | Photo: Daniel Silva

The Dragoons began to see more of the ball and began to gain the upper hand. Prądniczanka struggled to deal with the Dragoons’ movement and a long pass from Bilovol saw another defensive error. Atzori managed to get to the second ball first and nudged it in the direction of Smits. The Dutchmeester, cut onto his left foot, but his resulting shot cleared the crossbar.

Chances Galore

On the halfway point, the Dragoons began to really turn the screw. A galloping run from Josh Dawson saw the full-back stride into the Prądniczanka half and release a pass to Samyonov. The Israeli darted onto the ball and forced Mielecki to push his shot wide from a tight angle.

Yuri Samyonov of Krakow Dragoons FC dominates the ball near the side line
On the Move — Yuri Samyonov comes deep to get possession of the ball and helps to move the team forward | Photo: Daniel Silva

From the following corner, the hosts managed to clear the ball only as far as Malonga 35 metres out. The Congolese midfielder came forward unopposed, but saw his shot blocked for another corner.

On this occasion, the Dragoons came desperately close to taking the lead. Atzori swung a teasing corner towards the back post with Dawson rising the highest. The Englishman nodded firmly at goal from inside the 6 yard box, however, Mielecki somehow got his hand to the ball to keep the chance out.

Nkola For The Lead

The Dragoons kept up the pressure and finally grabbed the lead with 37 minutes played. A free-kick just inside the Prądniczanka half saw the Expats move the ball with some neat and quick interchanges. The ball ended up at the feet of Dawson, who picked out the run of Nkola into the corner of the penalty area. The Angolan showed quick feet to fly past a defender before driving powerfully into the far corner of the net to give the Dragoons the lead.

Rob Smits and Flavio Nkola of Krakow Dragoons FC
Flavio Flavour — The Dragoons Angolan winger gave the Dragoons a 1-0 lead with some excellent football | Photo: Daniel Silva

Having fallen behind, Prądniczanka looked to reply instantly but their gameplan to break the Dragoons backline with long passes saw the ball overhit too often.

Prądniczanka Pressure

With the hosts sending more bodies forward, gaps in the pitch began to appear with both sides looking at countering. After a Dragoons move broke down, a long pass found Dzhalilov in space on the left wing. The attacker came inside to shoot, but could only send his attempt straight at Obyrtacz to save.

A quickly taken free-kick presented Dzhalilov with another chance with less that 2 minutes left in the half. A high pass into the area saw Dzhalilov and Obyrtacz challenge for the ball in the air. The Ukrainian appeared to get their first, with the ball going towards goal off his shoulder. However, the Dragoons lead remained intact as Drobny got back well to volley the ball away from danger.

A ball disputed in the air
Clearance — Kuba Drobny keeps his eye on the ball before booting it away from the Dragoons goal | Photo: Daniel Silva

The half-time whistle sounded shortly with the Dragoons holding the advantage. Despite a slow opening 20 minutes, the Expats found their confidence on the ball and started to dominate. They also pressed much better as a team and generally held their shape well. Prądniczanka seemed to resort for long balls over the top and had been slow in trying to halt the Expats forward movement.

Second Half

Sasha Arshakian of Krakow Dragoons FC receiving a long pass
How’s Ya Touch — Sasha Arshakian unorthodoxly controls the ball during the half time break | Photo: Daniel Silva

A half-time substitution saw the hosts change formation and playing with three at the back.

The change caused the Expats a little bit of bother, with Prądniczanka creating the first real chance of the half on 51 minutes. A clipped pass found Jakub Spruch behind the Dragoons defence. However, Marcin Obyrtacz read the danger well, flying off his line quickly to deny the incoming shot with his knees.

Rushed Chance

Despite starting the slower of the two sides, the Dragoons fashioned a great chance to double their lead on 56 minutes. Good frontline pressing saw Prądniczanka needlessly concede possession back to the Expats. Roman Bilovol lifted a pass straight into Yuri Samyonov’s feet with the Israeli taking advantage of the hosts’ poor defensive positioning. The attacker put a cross on a plate for the unmarked Rob Smits, however, the Dutchmeester rushed his header and directed the ball wide of the goal.

Piotr Hajnrych of Krakow Dragoons FC warming up
Stretching — Piotr Hajnrych warms up before heading onto the pitch with seven minutes to play | Photo: Daniel Silva

Straight down the other end, Prądniczanka had an attempt of their own. The Dragoons stood like statues on the edge of the box with no one going to the ball. However, Artem Skerlet failed to take advantage lifting a shot from the edge of the box over the goal.

The Dragoons continued to press forward and good link-up play between Saymonov and Smits lead to the corner. Atzori found the head of Dawson for a second time, but on this occasion the defender sent his effort wide.

Omar Atzori of Krakow Dragoons FC prepares a free kick
Swingin’ it in — Omar Atzori stands over a free-kick deep in the half of the opponents | Photo: Daniel Silva

Dragoons Change Things Up

With the Expats working hard in the heat, Hugo Cruz made his first changes of the game on 66 minutes. Samyonov and Atzori left the field, with Fuhaš and Krzyżanowski entering in their place.

Krakow Dragoons FC subs preparing to enter the field
Preparing for Action — The Expats’ substitutes ready themselves before coming into the game in the second half | Photo: Daniel Silva

Six minutes later, Roman Bilovol made a great intervention to stop a potential goalscoring opportunity for the hosts. However, it came as a price as the Argentine injured himself in the process and had to be subbed. Sasha Arshakian came on and slotted into left back with Dawson switching to the right flank.

Roman Bilovol passing the corner kick flag after being subbed
Making Way — Roman Bilovol trudges back to the Dragoons bench after being forced off the field through injury | Photo: Daniel Silva

The second half had been a pretty uneventful affair until the 75th minute. Prądniczanka poured forward in search for an equaliser but a good defensive header from Dawson cleared the ball away. A poor touch from a defender gifted Nkola the chance to spread his legs and accelerate forward. The fleet-footed attacker had Fuhaš peeling off to his left, but delayed passing, deciding to go alone and eventually ran into a brick wall.

Prądniczanka Equalise Out of Nowhere

With the Expats shape decimated, a quick long-ball over the top found it’s mark on the left wing. A pass across the edge of the penalty box found Kopeć free and in space, with the Dragoons defence all at sea. The number 9 made the Expats pay, drilling a low shot that caught Obyrtacz unsighted, going underneath his outstretched leg and into the net for 1-1. An equaliser out of nowhere – a painful blow when the side had looked so comfortable.

Flavio Nkola of Krakow Dragoons FC
In Need of a Breather — Flavio Nkola eyes up a water bottle on a baking hot Saturday afternoon | Photo: Daniel Silva

After the goal, the Dragoons began to pick up the tempo. The game began to take on a scrappy look as both sides committed silly fouls as neither could build any headway with the ball.


Good play on the right side saw Dawson link well with Leuci and scamper down the right side. The defender did well to progress the ball forward and released Fuhaš in space on the right. Dawson continued his run into the box with both Nkola and Smits joining him, however, a wild attempted cross from Fuhaš saw the ball sail over everyone’s head and run out for a throw.

Vałdzis Fuhaš of Krakow Dragoons FC enters the pitch
Skied — Vałdzis Fuhaš overhit a glorious chance for the Expats with 3 players in the box | Photo: Daniel Silva

With seven minutes left to play, Hugo Cruz made a triple change to put fresh legs on the pitch. Edoardo Battaglion, Piotr Hajnrych and Barry Chowaniec entered the fray to replace Francesco Leuci, Flavio Nkola and Josh Dawson.

Goal Disallowed

As the clock ticked down, the Expats thought they had scored a late goal. Excellent pressing from the relentless Malonga saw a misplaced pass inadvertently putting Chowaniec in possession. The attacker attempted a one-two with Malonga, but the midfielder’s return pass was to was blocked out to Hajnrych. The substitute immediately laid a pass into the space occupied by Chowaniec, who passed across goal for Krzyżanowski to tap home. However, the goal would not count as the striker was deemed to have been offside from Hajnyrch’s pass.

Krakow Dragoons FC players entering the field after a water break
Refreshed — The Players make their way back onto the pitch after a water break following Bilovol’s injury | Photo: Daniel Silva

Chowaniec was in the thick of the action once again just moments later. A long kick from Obyrtacz bounced awkwardly with the striker cushioning a header into space to run onto. The Polish forward looked up to pick out the run of Smits inside the box. However, the midfield metronome rushed a shot at goal, slicing the ball up into the air and out for a goal-kick.

Bartek Chowaniec of Krakow Dragoons FC warming up
Patiently Waiting — Barry Chowaniec watches on from the side line before entering the action and almost having a perfect impact | Photo: Daniel Silva

Victory At The Death

Deep into stoppage time, a foul on Hajnrych gave the Dragoons a free-kick out by the left touch-line. Smits wandered over to take the kick with Drobny in his ear on where to put the ball. The Dutchmeester stepped up and curled his kick towards the six yard box. In the meantime, Drobny escaped the attentions of his marker, stooping to meet the ball with his head, and flicked a header that wrong-footed Mielecki and bounced into the back of the net to give the Expats an extremely late lead.

The game still continued after goal and the Dragoons looked to try and score a third. With several players still going forward, Prądniczanka counter-attacked but an offside call saved the Expats potentially conceding.

Prądniczanka II vs Krakow Dragoons FC as seen from the stands
Organise — The Dragoons get back into shape following an attack breaking down | Photo: Daniel Silva

It proved to be the last action of the match as the referee blew the whistle to give the Dragoons a welcome victory at the death. The result leaves the Expats in 9th position on 27 points, four behind next weekends opponents Victoria Smroków.

The Dragoons struggled in the early stages, but soon found their rhythm and worked hard for the win. It was by no means a perfect performance, but the team looked a lot more organised and had taken on board the lessons learnt in the training sessions in the week. There is still a lot of work to be done with decision making, but this performance was a good step in the right direction.

Piotr Hajnrych of Krakow Dragoons FC
Good Spirits All Round — Piotr Hajnrych is all smiles as the Dragoons secured their 8th win of the season | Photo: Daniel Silva

Next Up

A fourth game in a row at Stadion Prądniczanka sees the Dragoons face off against 8th placed Victoria Smroków next weekend. Smroków go into the game on the back of 9 victories, 4 draws and 9 losses so far this season, scoring 51 times and conceding 48.

In the last and only meeting between the two sides, the Dragoons slumped to a 2-1 defeat. The Expats had missed a number of chances before falling behind to a 25th minute opener. The Dragoons pulled level 5 minutes later as Sassini converted Voženílek’s cross to go into the half-time break one apiece. A poor start saw the hosts go back into the lead, before a terrible offside call denied Sassini a second equaliser. The Dragoons failed to find any sort of composure after and a flat second half performance saw all three points stay in Smroków.

Posted on Text: Dave Burch Visual Editing: Daniel Silva


99Marcin Obyrtacz (pol)
2Josh Dawson (eng) 18
5Simon Calabrese (ita)
9Yuri Samyonov (isr) 29
10Flavio Nkola (ang) 44 37'
13Kuba Drobny (pol) 90'
14Roman Bilovol (arg) 4
16Francesco Leuci (ita) 19
25Rob Smits (ned)
33Omar Atzori (ita) 26
36Corneille Malonga (cod)
83Lorenzo Bartolomei (ita)
4Sasha Arshakian (ukr) 14
18Edoardo Battaglion (ita) 2
19Piotr Hajnrych (pol) 16
26Jan Krzyżanowski (pol) 33
29Vałdzis Fuhaš (blr) 9
44Bartek Chowaniec (pol) 10


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